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Wi-Fi VoIP a mobile phone killer for Edith Cowan

Perth's Edith Cowan University (ECU) will seek to use its new mesh wireless network to cut down its fleet of mobile phones by replacing them with wireless handsets enabled for Voice over IP (VoIP). Steve Johnston The university's information technology (IT) infrastructure manager Steve Johnston told a Sydney conference yesterday the move could save ECU a significant amount of money.
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Written by Renai LeMay on
Perth's Edith Cowan University (ECU) will seek to use its new mesh wireless network to cut down its fleet of mobile phones by replacing them with wireless handsets enabled for Voice over IP (VoIP).

      Steve Johnston
Steve Johnston
The university's information technology (IT) infrastructure manager Steve Johnston told a Sydney conference yesterday the move could save ECU a significant amount of money.

"We can potentially replace somewhere in the vicinity of upward of 200 mobile phones," he said, noting this could cut around 50 percent, or AU$200,000, off ECU's annual mobile bill.

First cabs off the rank for the pilot will be ECU's IT staff. "There will be 20 handsets in the initial trial, with plans to increase to 50-plus handsets," said Johnston.

ECU has tested vendor ZyXel's handsets, but others will also get a look-in, due to their potential to provide higher wireless speeds.

"We are going to trial some of the Nortel handsets which are 802.11g handsets, and that will improve the throughput," said Johnston. "We're also looking at some D-Link handsets, which are also 802.11g."

While ECU's mesh network allows 802.11g wireless connections at speeds of up to 54Mbps, if 802.11b hardware connects to the network, the access point concerned will drop to the lowest common denominator in terms of speed -- or 802.11b at up to 11Mbps.

ECU's wireless mesh network was built on Nortel hardware and was mainly operational from the middle of 2005, according to Johnston. Mesh networking allowes wireless access points to connect to each other as well as to devices like laptops, eliminating the need for any cabling.

The university has around 2,500 staff and 22,500 students.

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